A Beautiful Day in My Neighborhood

A half hour northwest of Center City, the neighborhood of Chestnut Hill is what some might call a “bedroom suburb” of Philadelphia, although it has a Philadelphia zip code. I’ve lived in Chestnut Hill for all of five months, and have walked up and down its main thoroughfare — Germantown Avenue — countless times. More often than not, I’m accompanied by my Boxer companion, Baby Girl. The two of us window shop (or at least I do), feel the sun on our faces, breath in the fresh air, and smile at other passers-by. Chestnut Hill has the charm of a quaint European village, and nearly all of the same accoutrements: art galleries, bakeries, cafes, boutiques, a school, a church, a co-op market, and even a hotel lining either side of historic Germantown Avenue. Today I present you with a few snapshots of the neighborhood I’ve grown to love.

On sunny days such as today, one can find these paintings adorning the storefront of Lavender Hill Home, a boutique that sells art, gifts, furnishings, and jewelry. Every time I pass them, I’m charmed by these artistic renderings of cows.
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Fiesta III Pizza is aesthetically pleasing and (so I hear) a treasure trove for the tastebuds.

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Here I am — sans make-up, new iPhone in tow — inside of El Quetzal, a local gift shop and clothing boutique.
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A sculpture of an outstretched palm towers over a local playground. I love the way the afternoon shadows of nearby trees almost resemble veins.
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Like the outstretched palm, these birch trees lining Germantown Avenue seem to reach for the heavens.
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I pass Bredenbeck’s Bakery at least once a day. Their window displays are worthy of note, and the smells wafting through the air surrounding their location are to die for.
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Afternoon shadows grow long. The air is chilly, so Baby Girl and I pick up the pace as we approach what locals call “the top of the hill,” also the epicenter of the neigbhorhood.
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Looking south on Germantown Avenue.
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In this photo, a mannequin appears to stare through the windows of a J.McLaughlin store overlooking Germantown Avenue.
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And here he is again, closer up this time. Trees in full autumn blush reflect off the glass store windows, creating a surreal effect.
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It wouldn’t be in Philly if there weren’t a pretzel shop nearby. Chestnut Hill is no exception.
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At the top of the hill, one finds several coffee shops. Here is the view of a clock face as seen from a sunny front corner nook inside the neighborhood Starbucks.
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Even the door to Ruth Funeral Parlor looks inviting. (Hopefully I won’t have to see what it looks like from the inside anytime soon, though.)
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Christ Ascension Lutheran Church, as viewed from Germantown Avenue at night, looks like something straight out of a storybook.
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Osaka Japanese Restaurant is also quite the looker, and well worth a visit. (My husband and I eat here whenever we’re in the mood for sushi.)
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Last but not least, I leave you with a photo taken a few months ago at the Chestnut Hill Street Fair. The woman running the booth wears a smile that says it all: we’re happy to be here in Chestnut Hill.
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6 comments

  1. You are soooo lucky to be now called a “Chestnut Hill” resident, Gina! I’ve always loved walking through this particular neighborhood, and it’s one of the things about moving across to NJ that I miss the most. Your photo-essay is brilliant. I feel as though I’ve never left visiting the area, even though admittedly, it’s been a looong time! Such innate talent you have – I hope you never stop photographing our beautiful city. šŸ™‚ P.S. I love your retail-shop selfie!!

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